26/04/2010 08:56

Erdan: Recycling revolution has begun today.

The proposed packaging law took a giant step forward on Sunday after it was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, which means the bill has coalition approval and should pass through the Knesset pretty easily.

“The recycling revolution in Israel has begun today,” Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan exulted in a statement. “This is a significant leap forward in the treatment of waste in Israel which will allow household waste to become a resource, rather than a nuisance.”

Erdan and his ministry have been working hard since he came into office to reduce waste in all its forms. The packaging law is expected to reduce annual garbage by a million tons.

Israelis produce about 5.4 million tons a year of garbage from their households, or 1.6 kilograms per person per day. The amount of trash has been growing by three to five percent every year.

The packaging law – derived from the European model – extends the responsibility of the manufacturer of the product all the way to the recycling of its packaging. Under the new law, products will clearly state on the package how they should be recycled.

In Europe, packaging laws have replaced deposit laws, as they are broader and more inclusive. Recycling rates of over 50% of all garbage have been reached in some European countries. In Belgium, over 90% of packaging is recycled – the highest in Europe.

Here, the goals for recycling packaging will be introduced gradually – leading up to zero packaging being interred in landfills by 2020. By 2014, manufacturers or importers will have to recycle 60% of packaging every year.

There will be individual goals for different types of material as well: Glass, paper and cardboard – 70%; metal – 65%; plastic and wood – 40%.

Large 1.5 liter plastic bottles, which were recently included under the Deposit Law, will also be included under the packaging law.

Fines for violating the law would range from NIS 67,000 to NIS 202,000.

Erdan is also working to crack down on illegal dumping of construction and demolition waste, and to give a boost to the recycling industries that depend on this waste for their raw materials.